Friday, March 30, 2012

thinking about seeds in the context of mining developments

Whist at the Millennium Seedbank in the UK last October I had an interesting conversation with a number of staff over the three week stay...

my ever expanding collection of journals and artist books

One of the people who left me thinking was Vanessa Suttcliffe who's work at the Kew Millennium Seedbank has seen her involved in the following projects:

One area we discussed was the Difficult Seeds Project in Africa read abut that if you have a chance! Another issue that has kept me thinking involves MSB training for Mining companies who undertake Land Stewardship by setting up pre-comencement seed conservation and post-mining restoration work. Vanessa detailed the processes available to companies in the work of Land Stewardship but I could only gather that uptake is not what it could be.

Months later I wonder how often and how many companies actually choose to put into practice this kind of undertaking... expecially in the light of all the noise on CSG mining and general expansion of the industry in this state and beyond. It seemed for a brief moment there might be movement in the direction of sustainability in that industry ... and certainly some countries have done just that. Practices and commitments have been made to foster improvements in this sector but I for one would like to see evidence of it happening in this state... and across the country. At present the Seed lab I worked in during my 2010 residency is not open due to lack of funding.

Given mining expansion in Queensland it seems the very least that could be done is the critical work of collecting wild species from across the state in the effort to monitor seed viability and such. This leaves me questioning what measures are in place to scientifically monitor the changing environment. From what I have learnt to date seeds are actually an incredibly useful and important measure.

Politics and Money, jobs and economy are the big buzzwords... but in terms of longevity... a longer sense of the NOW... what will stack up. This has to be considered far more earnestly ... and might I say far more honestly!

I'll leave you will these images... bye for now!

Drawing with children one day we innovated with our drawing tools

this tiny Casuarina branch became an ink pen... I often use twigs for the earthy Quality they give to linework.


Valerianna said...

I often wonder how any industry can just blindly dig and destroy with all the information available. At what point does moral responsibility completely dissolve into greed? Oh, its an old question, I know, but truly, I sometimes wonder if I'm the alien species or they are..... lovely drawings!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Valerianna,
You got me thinking...
I posted a story on coffee here recently about the Vietnamese coffee industry which is their biggest or 2nd biggest import.
In the rush to meet demand it described how unaware local farmers risked all...resulting in vast environmental degradation... to make money to the point where a multinational... Nestle ...stopped in with the Rainforest Alliance to teach new farming principles to arrest the degradation taking place.
I had to read that several times about Nestle stepping in...they did because production had scaled right down... so maybe only when the big powers see crucial environmental practices we will see change.
Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity after fuel worldwide. It seems each time something rises in value that can be traded we get the environmental damage setting in.

You do wonder alien species ...and who is what etc!

Anonymous said...

Lots of important things to ponder. I like the parallel/ comparison of the drawing with sticks as an alternative approach to process the process of drawing. Well done Sophie!

Sophie Munns said...

Mining is full of hung-ho behaviour that tries to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. We simply can't support life as it is and mining as its done well into the future...but who's paying attention Mary.The upside however is that some countries appear have made tighter policies to protect their resources.

The drawing images were included partly for the sake of having more visuals... but its a reminder I guess of thinking outside the square and the kids sure enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

We have an saying in Iowa. "A Penny wise, a pound foolish". (I guess this must be British since we don't use pounds.) To me, the above phrase describes mining practices in a nutshell. Theindustry's legacy has always been one quick easy payoff no matter the cost to the environment or humanity.

I liked the drawing metaphor because anyone who has ever used a stick dipped in ink knows how much the process changes your attitude about the act of making marks. It causes one to rethink, slow down, and reconsider. Also due to the fragility of twigs, one my slow down and work in collaboration with the tool instead of dominate it.

Well done for getting the word out!


Sophie Munns said...

Well said indeed Mary!
Its frighteningly short term isn't it!

Extract resources..done and over...nothing renewable about that at all... and then the HOW..the methods and responsibility to care for the site post mining is poor to abominable too often.
Plus those that live near are often unwell or at risk in varying degrees. So easy to be casual when its not us affected directly.

Twigs do quite naturally force one to slow the process and appreciate the quality of line ... something I've had too little time for of late. Just finished working on the mural as it was getting dark last night... then home to a whole long series of tasks, online work, responding to emails and the like.
Easter present a wonderful opportunity to slow down and I think I may well be painting outside in the garden.
Enjoy you Easter Break Mary!

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